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Exhibition of Achievements of National Economy

Exhibition of Achievements of National Economy
 
 
   
   
 
 

ALTHOUGH the Soviet days were considered by many to be dark, it did build a spectacular foundation of infrastructure upon which modern Russia is now built. I had arrived in Moscow spending much of the previous week crossing Russia on the longest and one of the best maintained railways in the world. The momentum of the Soviet machine of government created many spectacular achievements throughout the Soviet Union, centred here in Moscow. Although the days of Socialism have long passed, many of its achievements are still celebrated to this day.

Entrance to the museum

Entrance to the museum

A large stone structure stood before us. Standing on twelve pillars, the grey tower had a black statue of two people on top of it. This was the entrance to the All Russian Exhibition Centre, a huge museum built between 1935 and 1939 to showcase the achievements of the Soviet Union.

We entered under the gate entrance to a long and wide courtyard passing between rows of short fountains on either side towards a white triangular structure proudly holding high the star symbol of the Soviet Union. It stood proud, even though socialism had collapsed several decades ago. About half way up the tower were more statues of people victoriously celebrating communism.

Central Avenue

Central Avenue

We followed the Central Avenue, heading closer to the big white tower in front of which was a statue. It was surrounded by small flower gardens with white and red small annual plants on their final flowering before winter sets in. The tiny plants seemed to enhance the large buildings, statues and fountains of the park.

We were now closer to the white structure, able to see the statues on either side reaching up in different directions. Between the statues and a little further down above a large sign written in Russian was a large symbol rather dark with many pieces heading out radially, another communist symbol.

Friendship of Nations Fountain

Friendship of Nations Fountain

Heading around to the right of the tower, we passed a large garden of dark red flowers and a very low hedge beyond the fountains.

On the other side of the tower was an enormous fountain, the Friendship of Nations Fountain, surrounded by a large circle of paving leading to various Soviet style decorative buildings. Each building captured the cultural aspects of the different nations before they came together as part of the Soviet Union. Some of the nations such as Ukraine were clearly recognisable, but the countries that were formed upon the dissolution of the Soviet Union weren’t the same as those that existed before its formation in 1917. Some of the names were unfamiliar.

One of the nations

One of the nations

The fountain was set in a large pond. A small fountain without any structure flowed at the front of the pond. Behind it was the main fountain, streaming out of a large black structure with golden figures on it. Each figure was doing something different. There were about twelve figures, each representing the different countries uniting as part of the Soviet Union.

A smaller fountain sat some distance behind the first one. The water was coming out of a black structure, but this fountain didn’t have any golden statues.

Small fountain

Small fountain

We followed long paved area passing more buildings before reaching the end, where several buildings covered the scientific achievements of the Soviet Union. The centrepiece was a large Vostok rocket used for Russian launches between 1960 and 1991 sending people into orbit. It was mounted on a blue frame used as the original launch pad. The frame stood out to the side allowing the rocket boosters to fire without melting or otherwise damaging it. The rocket could carry a payload of up to 4725 kilogrammes. It had three stages with burn times of 118 seconds, 301 seconds and 365 seconds respectively, burning a kerosene mix to send its payload into a stable orbit circling hundreds of kilometres above the Earth at 7.5 kilometres per second.

Vostok rocket

Vostok rocket

It seemed to be very rickety to be sending anything up into orbit, and yet this crazy looking rocket was successful in launching many satellites and cosmonauts into orbit, and bringing most cosmonauts back. It was just these rockets weren’t as sleek as the ones NASA use, but in true Soviet style, aesthetics were sacrificed to ensure functionality to get the job done.

Vostok rocket

Vostok rocket

Nearby was the first Soviet passenger jet. This was the three engine Yakovlev Yak-40. It was built between 1967 to 1981 and used extensively throughout the Soviet Union. These have almost entirely been superseded, but there are some still in service. Less than ten of these are used in passenger flights around remote parts of Russia.

A large military helicopter stood on a pad. This was a Mil Mi-8T transport helicopter. They have been used in flights since 1967 and are still the third most commonly used military aircraft in the world.

Russian helicopter

Russian helicopter

Surrounding the vehicles were several museums of science and transport. I think most of them would have been closed by now being quite late into the afternoon.

From the museum we headed through a deciduous forest along a path back out towards one of the main roads. The tall trees were starting to lose their leaves and although there was no wind, they were steadily falling and covering the paving we were walking on.

Ostankino tower

Ostankino tower

We headed quite close to the Ostankino Television Tower which had bright lights covering the lower cylindrical columns leading up to the main tower. It stands at 540 metres high being the tallest free-standing structure in Europe and the 11th highest in the world. It was built to mark the 50th anniversary of the revolution, and for a while stood as the tallest free-standing structure in the world, surpassing the Empire State Building as the tallest building in the world between 1967 and 1975.

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Ostankino tower

Passing a few more residential towers we reached the metro system. Here we parted ways saying goodbye to Pavel who had been a fantastic guide today showing me around the great achievements and history of Moscow, the capital of one of the most powerful nations on Earth. He was finished with work and I was heading back into the city to see what it looks like at night.

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28 September 2016

 

Moscow

Russia

 

55°49'N
37°38'E
162 - 170m ASL

 

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